7 Crucial Factors to Consider When Evaluating Your Current MSP
The global managed services market has reached more than 200 billion U.S. dollars this year. Revenue from managed services is expected to exceed 300 billion U.S. dollars in the next few years.
Managed Services Providers (MSPs) can be effective for your business only when they meet your organizational requirements. Your MSP should also be in sync with your business’s changing needs. You should, therefore, analyze your current MSP to find out if they are indeed the best fit for your company.
In other words, you should ensure that you are gaining the maximum benefits from your partnership with the present MSP. If you find that you aren’t, you should consider finding a more suitable IT partner.
Analyzing Your Existing MSP
Here are some key questions you should consider when evaluating your current MSP.
How Much Scalability Does Your MSP Provide?
The MSP you are working with should be capable of helping your business scale. It is important to know if your MSP is growing along with your company or not. In other words, you must keep a check if your MSP is scaling its services as your organization expands and your business objectives change.
Scalability is an important aspect of your business’s growth and development. With advancement in technology, your business may need to scale resources. If your current MSP isn’t providing scalable solutions and helping you maintain productivity, you might want to question their ability.
As a business owner, you must keep in mind that a good Managed Service Provider will remain open to your short and long-term business requirements with all the resources it has. If your MSP can’t provide your business the support and services required to handle growth, you should rethink your decision of retaining it.
Is Your MSP Sticking to Its Guaranteed Response Time?
It is important to work with an MSP who is quick to respond and resolve your company’s IT issues seamlessly. An established MSP can easily address a huge variety of issues in less time. If your MSP’s guaranteed response time for critical IT issues such as system failure and cybersecurity attacks is 30 minutes, it should solve these issues within the given timeframe. If the MSP is unable to mitigate these issues even after hours, your business might face huge downtime, thereby severely affecting your business reputation and productivity.
Simply put, your current MSP should deliver on its promise of guaranteed response time. They should consistently address IT issues such as downtime and application errors. Further, they should come up with a disaster recovery and business continuity planning to prevent any event of security breach and system outage. If it doesn’t, you should look for another more capable and reliable MSP.
Is Your MSP Well-Equipped and Compliant?
Cyber-attacks and data breaches can compromise your business operations and reduce your profits. Hence, it is important to analyze the cybersecurity solutions that your MSP offers. You must find out if your MSP is leveraging high-end technologies to block data intrusions and eliminating them before they enter your business network.
Here’s a list of cybersecurity IT services that your existing MSP should be offering you:
- Security Information and Event Management (SEIM) monitoring
- Anti-virus and firewall protection
- Domain Name System (DNS) protection
- Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
- Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR)
- Cybersecurity awareness training
- Consistent vulnerability monitoring
- Email encryption
- Spam filtering
- Centralized security management
- Real-time alerts
The above-mentioned cybersecurity services will help secure your network and protect your confidential business data. They will also enable your MSP to ensure that you meet the various compliance standards such as HIPAA, GDPR, and PCI DSS.
Does Your MSP Provide Multi-Vendor Support?
The MSP you are working with should have the capability to manage multiple vendors on your behalf. You must have a clear idea how your MSP will take charge and jump into action if your business faces any issue with any vendor. In short, your MSP should be able to track the progress on the remedial measures taken by the vendor and make sure that the issue gets resolved at the earliest.
Further, it is critical to find out whether or not your MSP is vendor-neutral. Pay attention if they are being partial and recommending you products from only certain vendors. Not all offerings may be apt for your business functions. If your MSP recommends only the technologies that bring you the best business results, they’re a keeper. If not, it’s time for a change.
Is the Pricing Structure of Your MSP Feasible?
MSPs offer a range of pricing structures that can give you the flexibility to select a plan that best suits your requirements. Ideally, your MSP should offer a fixed monthly fee to maintain your system, business network, and IT infrastructure, and stick to the agreed-upon plan. It will help you have a predictable IT budget.
If your current MSP has any hidden fees or last-minute charges, it is best to part with it. After all, the price you pay should be no more than the amount quoted.
Further, you need to find out if your MSP has been offering customized pricing and tailored solutions to meet specific business requirements. This will help you get an idea if your MSP is being flexible according to your IT needs or simply trying to fit your business into its comfort zone.
What Approach Does Your MSP Adopt?
Your MSP should resolve your business’s IT issues such as data leaks and cyber-attacks in a proactive way. They should also have preventive measures in place to avoid the recurrence of IT issues.
You can evaluate your current MSP’s proactive approach by considering how they are handling aspects such as:
- Continuous network monitoring
- Regular updates
- Reviewing outdated technology
- Network administration
- Help desk
Is Your MSP Adhering to the Service Level Agreement?
The IT company you are working with should fulfill every part of the SLA (Service Level Agreement). An SLA is a blueprint that can provide you with clear and measurable performance guidelines given by your MSP. It includes aspects such as hardware and software maintenance, cloud hosting agreements, and more.
The SLA works as a predetermined standard for quality, delivery and response time, and responsibilities of your MSP. It creates transparency and makes your MSP accountable for its services. If you notice that your MSP isn’t fulfilling even the primary services, such as annual analysis of your hardware and software, know that it is not keeping any of its other promises.
Your partnership with your existing MSP will last longer if it is aligned with your company’s goals and objectives. You can evaluate your current MSP with the steps mentioned above. These steps will give you clarity on whether or not your current MSP is providing the optimal return on your investment and addressing your business’s unique IT requirements. It will also give you a clear perspective on whether you should continue with or move on to another IT partner, allowing you to make an informed decision.